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By UNICEF Australia
27 January 2021

This Valentine’s Day, we're celebrating all types of love.

Whether it's a romantic relationship, a close friendship, your a supportive family, you can make a difference by sharing the love with those in need. Forget the giant teddy bears and give a charity Valentine’s gift instead.  

Vaccines: the ultimate gift of love

In the words of polio survivor and veteran health worker, Richard Elaka, from Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo “vaccination is a gesture of love”. 

"vaccination is a gesture of love that protects the children"

For more than 20 years, Richard has been a community outreach worker teaching parents about the importance of vaccination and the risks of non-vaccination. "I realised that many families don't get their children vaccinated because of a lack of knowledge," he explains.   

"In the morning I wake up, I take my awareness materials and go meet families with young children. When I arrive in a family, I make the parents understand that vaccination is a gesture of love that protects the children."

“When they vaccinate their children, they are protecting them.”   

Richard is a polio survivor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and works as a community outreach worker.
Richard is a polio survivor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and works as a community outreach worker.
© UNICEF/UN0352672/Mulala

“For parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated, I explain to them that I am myself a victim of polio. Look at me. If you don't want your children to be vaccinated, you see the consequences.  

"When a child has polio, he will be disabled for the rest of their life. Your children need to be immunised."   

Thanks to the hard work of people like Richard, UNICEF has helped reduce the global incidence of wild polio by 99 per cent since 1988 but it remains a threat. The virus is still endemic in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan and risks making a big come back thanks to disruptions to routine vaccination programmes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Our teams won’t stop until polio is banished to the history books. Spread love by stopping the spread of disease when you gift your loved one our Be My Valentine Vaccine Pack.


Internally displaced children access clean water the Tigray region of Ethiopia
Internally displaced children access clean water the Tigray region of Ethiopia
© UNICEF/UN0539166/Leul Kinfu

Why we love water 

When disaster strikes, clean and safe water is a top priority. Children who have been displaced could soon be at risk of contracting waterborne diseases if they do not access clean water.  

Cholera can spread incredibly quickly through displaced populations who have no option but to drink from local water sources, no matter how polluted they are. It quickly causes dehydration and can kill the vulnerable in hours. 

The ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia has results in millions of people in need of emergency assistance and protection. In response, UNICEF has reached families in Mekelle, the capital city of the Tigray region with much needed water supplies.  

Our teams have installed more than 130 water tanks, 33 latrines and provided daily water trucking for 20,000 displaced people. 

UNICEF is on the ground before, during and after emergencies, so that we can provide vital assistance to children and families.  

Help protect children in crisis with valentine’s day donation today. Our water purification tablets that can transform up to five litres of dirty water into drinkable water and soap to help stop the spread of disease.  

Baby Tamara wrapped safe in her mother’s Kangaroo pouch
Baby Tamara wrapped safe in her mother’s Kangaroo pouch
© UNICEF/UN0551453/Abdul

Celebrate new life and love

Baby Tamara weighed just 1.3 kilograms when she was born in the safety of a hospital in Uganda. The average weight of a newborn is 3.3 kilograms. Due to her small size, she is being cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  

The first 28 days of life – the neonatal period – is the most vulnerable time for a child’s survival. Children face the highest risk of dying in their first month of life.  

Globally, 2.4 million children died in the first month of life in 2020 – approximately 6,500 neonatal deaths every day. 

UNICEF support littles ones like Tamara with newborn care initiatives, including provision of equipment to keep small babies warm. You can help children survive common but life-threatening emergencies by providing the resources they need to be protected.  

Show your love by gifting a Newborn Welcome pack this Valentine’s Day.  


Here’s how it works

  1. Purchase a UNICEF Inspired Gift. From vaccines to clean water and school supplies to newborn care, we have something for everyone.
  2. A personalised card will be sent to your loved one telling them about the life-saving impact they're having on children.
  3. Real supplies will be dispatched from a UNICEF warehouse to wherever they're most needed.

There's no better way to show someone how much you appreciate everything they've done to make your life better. Buy a Valentine's Day charity gift and forever change the lives of vulnerable children.